Alpha 7C Playground

Making Videos of Your Cafe Hopping Experience

by Clarissa Cindy

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Making Videos of Your Cafe Hopping Experience

 Architecture, interior, and ambience – these elements carry the same importance as the menu itself in making a cafe video shine.”

Here’s what you’ll need

What you need

1. Your Alpha 7C   2. FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM)   3. Variable ND Filter   4. (Optional) Small Tabletop Tripod

Touch screen LCD Montior

 

 

A sweet Transit - BTS

 

 

Video file
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Video Name
Clarissa Cindy's Sweet Transit

Shot with Alpha 7C

Cafe hopping has always been a highlight of my travels. To me, a cafe is more than just what they serve on the menu. The cosy interior that makes you lose track of time, the mood that the lighting creates and the one piece of decor that you cannot help but take a picture of are just some of the many intricate details that complement the coffee itself. This is what makes filming a cafe-hopping journey so interesting to me.

When filming a "Cafe Aesthetic Vlog", I tend to go with the flow instead of planning every shot that I take because every moment happens in spontaneity. Despite having said that, I do have a shot list in mind and I always deconstruct it into four key components.

 

The Ambience

To capture the overall vibes of a place, I look up the interior and exterior of the cafe on social media before deciding on which one to visit and make a video about. It is the most important thing that sets the tone of the video, which is why I like to feature an establishing shot of the entrance or the architecture of the cafe itself before slowly taking the viewer on the tour inside.

In this situation, because it involves filming the architecture of the place, setting up the 3x3 grid line function on the camera helps a lot in composition to keep the building and lines straight. On the contrary, I don’t always film with a wide focal length even though it is commonly used in interior and architecture filming. I love to frame only a certain part of the building or a certain corner of the interior, it simplifies the image and brings out the character to give the viewer the overall vibes of the place. In this video, I use the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens and set it to 35mm or 50mm most of the time to frame my shot.

 

I also like to incorporate some human elements into my shot even if I’m not the one who shows up in the frame. Doing so gives off the feel of what a typical day is like and how crowded it really is at the cafe. Out of respect for other people's privacy, I’ll always try to frame the shot in a way that the face is not easily recognisable, one way you can do this is by taking a shot when a face is looking at the other side of your camera.

 

The Menu

Now that we have established the ambience, the next step is to add the mouth-watering element to the video! When filming food and beverages, I always incorporate some form of action into the frame, be it stirring a glass of iced coffee or slicing into a raspberry cheesecake to reveal its texture. This adds more dimension to the story even with little to no camera movement. I use a wide-angle lens of around 35mm for the wide shot to keep the background blur nice and creamy. As for capturing the detail and texture of the menu items, I love getting up close with a 50mm or higher focal length but with an aperture number no smaller than F4 so as to not over blur the subject, while still making textures pop out of the screen.

Depending on the surface of the table, I sometimes feature a top-down angle of the table for the entrance shot to mimic a POV shot. This kind of shot usually requires a top-down rig but since I’m in a public space, I have to shoot it handheld. With the Alpha 7C’s vari-angle LCD, it is easier to frame a top-down shot. What’s more, the 5-axis in-body image stabilisation smooths out the movement of the footage and makes it more pleasing to the eye.

 

The Extra Sauce

To further set the tone of the video, I like to add what I call a ‘Texture Shot’. As its name implies, the tight shot of the texture and detail of a place supports the overall ambience and tone of the video. The close-up of the yellow leaf on the front porch with the blurred image of a visitor leaving in the background, the shifting focus of a warm lamp in a corner, or even a close-up shot of my dress fluttering in the wind gives off a relaxing feeling. Things like this add more narrative to the story that I want to tell in an "Aesthetic Cafe Vlog". I often insert these texture shots in between ambience shots and food shots to blend the scenes smoothly and serve as a transition to a more complex scene. Most of the time, it’s hard to set the colour tone from a wider interior shot, where multiple things are happening in one frame. A more abstract texture shot, not only eases the viewer's attention but also sets the overall colour scheme of the video.

 

To bring out the wood and golden brown colour scheme in the video, I added more texture shots of the plants in front of my table and the wooden pillars of the cafe interior with the warm lighting fixtures.

 

The Gear

Since cafe vlogs are filmed in privately owned business spaces, I don’t use tripods as they tend to draw the attention of other visitors. Sometimes it is also prohibited. As such, I keep my gear simple with just a camera body and one zoom lens – the Alpha 7C and the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM. The lens conveniently covered both my favourite focal lengths when I was filming an "Aesthetic Cafe Video", which is a bonus for me.

Sometimes not all cafes that I visit are abundant with natural light. Some of them even have minimal lighting fixtures, so having a lens with a wide aperture really helps in such low-light shooting situations.

Now that you know how to document your cafe experience in an "Aesthetic Cafe Video", it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. Visit a local cafe with your camera and a lens of your choice and tell a 30-second story that captures the unique details of the cafe using the formula that I shared. Have fun!

 

Video file
Video Name
Cafe Hopping Experience - BTS

Extra Tips

A good rule of thumb to follow when filming is to shoot twice as much of the ambience as the menu. Showing the menu is also important but since we are documenting a cafe-hopping experience, it’s crucial to get as much secondary footage of your surroundings as possible with variations in angle, which will help a lot in post-production.

When filming in a privately owned establishment, always pay attention to your surroundings, especially in crowded situations. Try to be covert if possible and be quick when setting up your gear to respect the privacy and space of other visitors. Set up your camera beforehand by using the ‘My Menu’ option on the Alpha 7C to cut down the need to search for settings.

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